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32 posts from June 2018

06/18/2018

Heat Advisory ISSUED: When and Where

A heat advisory has been issued for four counties in Kentuckiana by the National Weather Service in Southern Indiana. This does not include Louisville. It goes into effect at noon today until 8 pm tonight. Below is an image of the counties included and more information. 

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The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has issued a Heat
Advisory, which is in effect from noon today to 8 PM EDT this
evening.

* TEMPERATURE...Afternoon temperatures in the lower to middle
90s, with maximum afternoon heat index values around 105
degrees.

* IMPACTS...The heat will lead to hazardous conditions
particularly for the elderly, those with preexisting health
conditions, and pets. Heat exhaustion or heat stroke is
possible.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Heat Advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is
expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity
will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are
possible. Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned
room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and
neighbors.

Take extra precautions, if you work or spend time outside. When
possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or
evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat
stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible
and drink plenty of water.

Temperatures inside a vehicle can be significantly higher than
outside, even with windows open. Make sure not to leave children
or animals in the vehicle as they can be quickly overcome by the
heat.

To reduce risk during outdoor work, the occupational safety and
health administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks
in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat
should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an
emergency, call 9 1 1.

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-Katie McGraw 

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06/17/2018

Kilauea Update: Six Weeks Later

May 3rd marked the start of fissures opening and lava flowing at Kilauea.  In the last six weeks, more than 20 fissures have opened in Kilauea's Lower East Rift Zone.  Many of those were small and short-lived, but not all of them. One fissure - Fissure 8 - pushed lava toward the ocean, and the damage can be seen from space.  Since May 3rd more than 110 million cubic meters of lava have come from Kilauea which would fill 45,000 Olympic swimming pools, according to the USGS.

May 14 nasa
Image Credit: NASA via EarthSky (May 14th)
May 14 nasa
Image Credit: NASA via EarthSky (June 7)

On June 3 USGS tweeted, " At 10 AM, lava entered Green Lake. By 3PM, HCFD confirmed lake filled & water evaporated. Wide flow front is moving toward ocean."  Green Lake was Hawaii's largest freshwater lake.  The organization also said the lava advanced 656 yards per hour, which is the fastest lava flow rate recorded. 

USGS
Image Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Earthquakes continue at alarming rates (about 30 per hour last night according to USGS), and USGS continues with a current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING and current Aviation Color Code: RED.  

Usgs 1
Image Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

The cone in the picture above has been built by splattering lava from Fissure 8 and is roughly 170 feet tall.  USGS estimates the lava plume is up to 200 feet tall proving that activity continues.  At last count more than 100 residents are still living in shelters because they cannot return home. 

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-Hannah Strong

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Muggy Meter: Why We Care About the Dew Point?

Question: What's the dew point got to do with it? 

Answer: A lot! 

Once spring hits, the WDRB meteorologists talk about the dew point all the time on WDRB News. In fact, we discuss it almost every time we are on the air! It can tell us so much! How comfortable it will feel out sound or if we could see severe weather.  Today's dew points are back in the sticky seventies!

  Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.15.38 AM

But I also get a lot of people that ask "What's the humidity today?" Or "Why not mention the humidity?" 

So let's start there...

Relative humidity is defined by the National Weather Service as "the amount of atmospheric moisture present relative to the amount that would be present if the air were saturated. Since the latter amount is dependent on temperature, relative humidity is a function of both moisture content and temperature. As such, relative humidity by itself, does not indicate the actual amount of atmospheric moisture present."

Uhh, okay...?? 

In layman's terms, this basically mean that because it is taking into account TWO properties, it will not accurately tell us how dry or sticky it is outside. 

For example, in the morning or winter, it is common to see the relative humidity at 90-100%, because the air temperature is close to or meeting the dew point, but that doesn't mean it is actually sticky out. In fact, (as you might notice with flaky itchy skin) winter is a very dry season. Then today, a very humid day, it is only 55%. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.17.54 AM

    (Dew point enters stage right)

The dew point measures the moisture in the atmosphere.  When thinking of dew points remember this: The higher the dew point = the more moisture present in the air = the more uncomfortable it will feel.

Therefore, when we are talking about muggy "air that you wear" days - you will hear the WDRB Weather Team mentioning the dew point rather than the relative humidity, because it is the more accurate term to use. And in my opinion way easier to understand.  

To understand this even more, you can break dew points down into categories of about 5 degrees. 

A dew point of . . .

60-65 degrees: A magical number when you start to notice the humidity. 60 degrees is also the number when severe weather becomes a possible. 

65-60 degrees: It is steamy and getting uncomfortable. 

70+ degrees: Miserable and oppressive. 

So today we have dew points ranging from 71 degrees to 75 degrees. Which is a very sticky to miserable day. Not only that, but we also have very high air temperatures as well today. 

7-21 muggy meter

The air temperature + the dew point = heat index aka "feels like"

Now that temps have risen well into the 90s with dew points in the low to mid 70s, it will feel like the low triple digits the next few days! You can get an idea of how the heat index works with this calculator

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.15.21 AM

We will get a bit of relief from the heat later this week! Find out when on WDRB News this evening with Hannah! I will also be in for Jude one more day on WDRB in the Morning from 5-9 am! 

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-Katie McGraw 

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06/16/2018

Air Quality Alerts Issued for Sunday

An Air Quality Alert has been issued for several WDRB counties Sunday 10 AM - midnight EDT.  These alerts are often labeled with different names by different departments/offices, so for the sake of understanding we will refer to all similar alerts as air quality alerts. 

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The alert was issued for higher than normal surface ozone levels, but this is not the highest level alert.  It's an "orange" level meaning sensitive groups could feel health effects from the ozone but not the general population. Those sensitive groups include the elderly, children, and folks will breathing issues (lung/heart disease, asthma, etc.).   If you fall in to those groups, limit your time outdoors Sunday.  

Here are a few suggestions you can do to prevent the ozone level from climbing tomorrow: 

  • Reduce use of vehicles (walk, bike, or carpool with others or use public transportation)
  • Combine errands into one trip
  • Wait until after 7 PM (when ozone levels are lower) to refuel your vehicle or other machines that use gasoline. 
  • Turn off your engine if you will be idling for more than 30 seconds

You can also save energy by setting the A/C to 75º (or warmer if you can stand it) and remembering to turn off lights and small appliances not in use. 

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Through the start of the week ahead, heat index values will remain near 100º.  If you are going to be outdoors for extended periods of time, you need to build in breaks where you can cool off in the air conditioning.  Everyone, whether you will spend a majority of your time inside or outside, needs to hydrate well. 

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-Hannah Strong

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HEAT: A Killer...Literally

HEAT! It's a killer- literally. It is one of  the leading weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year.

In fact, on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. In the disastrous heat wave of 1980, more than 1,250 people died. In the heat wave of 1995 more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat. In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives.

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HEAT ILLNESS: 

During extremely hot and humid weather, your body's ability to cool itself is challenged. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness.

It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses. Some of these symptoms and steps are listed below. 

Warped thermometer

HEAT CRAMPS: Painful spasms usually in the muscles of legs and abdomen with heavy sweating. FIRST AID: Firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water.

HEAT EXHAUSTION: Heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, clammy skin; thready pulse; fainting and vomiting but may have normal temperature. FIRST AID: Get victim out of sun. Once inside, the person should lay down and loosen his or her clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room. Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.

HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke): High body temperature (106° F or higher), hot dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, possible unconsciousness.

FIRST AID: HEAT STROKE IS A SEVERE MEDICAL EMERGENCY. SUMMON EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE OR GET THE VICTIM TO A HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY. DELAY CAN BE FATAL. While waiting for emergency assistance, move the victim to a cooler environment reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners. If temperature rises again, repeat process. Do NOT give fluids. Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.

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HEAT INDEX: How warm it "feels"

You hear us talk about the "heat index" a lot this time of year. . .What is that? 

It is a measure of how hot it really feels when the relative humidity or the dew point is factored in with the actual air temperature. To find the Heat Index temperature, look at the Heat Index Chart below.

As an example, if the air temperature is 96°F and the relative humidity is 65%, the heat index--how hot it feels--is 121°F. The red area without numbers indicates extreme danger. The National Weather Service will initiate alert procedures when the Heat Index is expected to exceed 105°-110°F (depending on local climate) for at least 2 consecutive days. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-16 at 10.49.25 AM

NWS also offers a Heat Index chart for area with high heat but low relative humidity. Since heat index values were devised for shady, light wind conditions, exposure to full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 15°F. Also, strong winds, particularly with very hot, dry air, can be extremely hazardous. 

We will likely not have an advisory issued this time around, but it will be very close. Our heat index will be in the upper 90s and low triple digits the next few days. We will not see much relief until the middle and end of next week, after a cold front pushes through. With days and days of heat ahead - it is important to know ways to stay safe. Find out how below. 

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WAYS TO STAY SAFE

  • Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
  • Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages.
  • During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
  • Don't get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body's ability to dissipate heat.
  • Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.  

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-Katie McGraw 

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06/14/2018

TAKE COVER! Porta Potty Takes Flight In Colorado...

This video starts off by showcasing a nice, quiet day in Commerce City, Colorado. Things quickly turn chaotic as fierce winds pick up out of nowhere. Porta potties are tossed like toys, one of them lofted several stories high. People can be seen running and ducking for cover, even throwing themselves on top of their children for protection. You might be wondering how this could be possible with nothing but blue sky overhead. These gusty winds were clearly the result of a dust devil. A dust devil is a strong, well-formed, and relatively long-lived whirlwind, ranging from small (half a meter wide and a few meters tall) to large (more than 10 meters wide and more than 1000 meters tall). They are usually harmless, but can on rare occasions grow large enough to pose a threat to both people and property. Notice how the wind changes direction at the end of the video as the dust devil spins by...

Video Credit: The Real World Insider

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

https://www.facebook.com/RickDeLucaWeather

AIR QUALITY ALERT Issued for Friday

An Air Quality Alert has been issued by the National Weather Service in Louisville, The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. It is in effect for tomorrow for more counties than we typically see in an Air Quality Alert. It includes Jefferson, Bullitt, Oldham, Floyd, Clark, Washington, Harrison, Perry, Dubois, Scott, and Jefferson (In) Counties from 10 am until midnight Friday. This only impacts some individuals. Read more about the alert below. 

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AIR QUALITY ALERT IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM FRIDAY TO MIDNIGHT EDT
FRIDAY NIGHT...

The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District and the Indiana
Department of Environmental Management have issued an Air Quality
Alert...in effect from 10 AM Friday to midnight EDT Friday night.

A Code Orange Air Quality Alert for Ozone has been issued for the
Louisville Metro Area.

Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The
general public is not likely to be affected. Sensitive groups include
the elderly...children...persons with asthma or other breathing
problems...and persons with lung and heart disease. People in these
groups are advised to limit their outdoor activities to reduce their
exposure to ozone and particulate pollution.

For more information, visit the Louisville Metro Air Pollution
Control District at http://www.louisvilleky.gov/apcd or the Indiana
Department of Environmental Management at http://www.in.gov/idem.

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-Katie McGraw 

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06/13/2018

MASSIVE DUST STORM ON MARS Turns Day-to-night, Causing Solar-powered Rover To Become Unresponsive...

June 8, 2018:

Science operations for NASA's Opportunity rover have been temporarily suspended as it waits out a growing dust storm on Mars.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter first detected the storm on Wednesday, May 30. When the orbiter team saw the storm nearing Opportunity, they notified the rover's team to begin preparing contingency plans.

In a matter of days, the storm had ballooned. It now spans more than 7 million square miles (18 million square kilometers) -- an area greater than North America -- and includes Opportunity's current location at Perseverance Valley. More importantly, the swirling dust has raised the atmospheric opacity, or "tau," in the valley in the past few days. This is comparable to an extremely smoggy day that blots out sunlight. The rover uses solar panels to provide power and to recharge its batteries.

Opportunity's power levels had dropped significantly by Wednesday, June 6, requiring the rover to shift to minimal operations.

This isn't Opportunity's first time hunkering down in bad weather: in 2007, a much larger storm covered the planet. That led to two weeks of minimal operations, including several days with no contact from the rover to save power. The project's management prepared for the possibility that Opportunity couldn't balance low levels of power with its energy-intensive survival heaters, which protect its batteries from Mars' extreme cold. It's not unlike running a car in the winter so that the cold doesn't sap its battery charge.  There is a risk to the rover if the storm persists for too long and Opportunity gets too cold while waiting for the skies to clear.

Ultimately, the storm subsided and Opportunity prevailed. The Martian cold is believed to have resulted in the loss of Spirit, Opportunity's twin in the Mars Exploration Rover mission, back in 2010. Despite this, both rovers have vastly exceeded expectations: they were only designed to last 90 days each. Opportunity is in its 15th year; the team has operated the rover for more than 50 times longer than originally planned.

Full dust storms like this one are not surprising, but are infrequent. They can crop up suddenly but last weeks, even months. During southern summer, sunlight warms dust particles, lifting them higher into the atmosphere and creating more wind. That wind kicks up yet more dust, creating a feedback loop that NASA scientists still seek to understand. 

 

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This series of images shows simulated views of a darkening Martian sky blotting out the Sun from NASA’s Opportunity rover’s point of view, with the right side simulating Opportunity’s current view in the global dust storm (June 2018).
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/TAMU
 

June 10, 2018:

NASA engineers received a transmission from Opportunity on Sunday morning — a positive sign despite the worsening dust storm. Data from the transmission let engineers know the rover still has enough battery charge to communicate with ground controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Science operations remain suspended.

Sunday's transmission was especially good news considering the dust storm has intensified in the past several days. A dark, perpetual night has settled over the rover's location in Mars' Perseverance Valley. The storm's atmospheric opacity — the veil of dust blowing around, which can blot out sunlight -- is now much worse than a 2007 storm that Opportunity weathered. The previous storm had an opacity level, or tau, somewhere above 5.5; this new storm had an estimated tau of 10.8 as of Sunday morning.

Opportunity's team has requested additional communications coverage from NASA's Deep Space Network, a global system of antennas that talks to all the agency's deep space probes.

This latest data transmission showed the rover's temperature to be about minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 29 degrees Celsius). One saving grace of dust storms is that they can actually limit the extreme temperature swings experienced on the Martian surface. The same swirling dust that blocks out sunlight also absorbs heat, raising the ambient temperature surrounding Opportunity.

Engineers will monitor the rover's power levels closely in the week to come. The rover needs to balance low levels of charge in its battery with sub-freezing temperatures. Its heaters are vitally important to keeping it alive, but also draw more power from the battery. Likewise, performing certain actions draws on battery power, but can actually expel energy and raise the rover's temperature.

The rover has proved hardier than expected by lasting nearly 15 years, despite being designed for a 90-day mission.

 
Opacitychart-16
This graphic compares atmospheric opacity in different Mars years from the point of view of NASA’s Opportunity rover. The green spike in 2018 (Mars Year 34) shows how quickly the global dust storm building at Mars blotted out the sky. A previous dust storm in 2007 (red, Mars Year 28) was slower to build. The vertical axis shows atmospheric opacity and the horizontal access shows the Martian season, which is measured by where the Sun is in the Martian sky compared to its apparent position on Mars’ northern spring equinox.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/TAMU
 
 
June 12, 2018:

NASA engineers attempted to contact the Opportunity rover today but did not hear back from the nearly 15-year old rover. The team is now operating under the assumption that the charge in Opportunity’s batteries has dipped below 24 volts and the rover has entered low power fault mode, a condition where all subsystems, except a mission clock, are turned off. The rover’s mission clock is programmed to wake the computer so it can check power levels.

If the rover’s computer determines that its batteries don't have enough charge, it will again put itself back to sleep. Due to an extreme amount of dust over Perseverance Valley, mission engineers believe it is unlikely the rover has enough sunlight to charge back up for at least the next several days.

The Martian dust storm that has blotted out the sun above Opportunity has continued to intensify. The storm, which was first detected on May 30, now blankets 14-million square miles (35-million square kilometers) of Martian surface -- a quarter of the planet.

 
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This global map of Mars shows a growing dust storm as of June 6, 2018. The map was produced by the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. The blue dot indicates the approximate location of Opportunity. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
 
 

Wrapping Up Rain Chances

You've made it! After so many days in a row of rain and storm chances, this is the end.  We have a smaller chance for storms this afternoon/tonight. 

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The Storm Prediction Center has included most of our area (roughly I-65 and areas east) in a Marginal Risk of severe weather for at least the fourth day in a row.  This is the lowest category and suggests that stronger thunderstorms will be possible.  

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It's most likely a line of storms will form in central Indiana and move south. After several days of rain and storms, we don't have quite as much energy to support storms as we did several days ago.

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By the time this "line" gets here, it will start to break up.  Many of you won't see rain/storms today, but the chance does exist.  If you are in southern Indiana, you have a better chance to see rain/storms.  By the time this gets into Kentucky, there won't be much left of it, but new storms could fire along outflow boundaries in central Kentucky. 

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Marc and Rick will be here through the evening with you to track any storms that do move in.  You can also follow me on social media using the links below to get updates on any severe weather.

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-Hannah Strong

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06/12/2018

MARS MAKES BRIGHTEST APPEARANCE IN 15 YEARS! What Time & Direction To Look...

Here's something to put on your summer skygazing calendar! Mars will make its brightest appearance in 15 years from July 27 to July 30th. It will be the 3rd brightest night sky object behind the moon and Venus. 


Mars Close Approach is July 31, 2018

That is the point in Mars' orbit when it comes closest to Earth. Mars will be at a distance of 35.8 million miles, reaching its highest point around midnight -- about 35 degrees above the southern horizon, or one third of the distance between the horizon and overhead. In order to get the best view, look SE at 9 PM late July. By mid-August, Mars will become fainter as Mars and Earth travel farther away from each other in their orbits around the Sun.

 

MarsInTheNightSky_July2018-br

Image Credit: NASA

 

Close Approach: Mars Hoax

However, don't be fooled by the Mars Hoax! Since 2003, this urban legend gets circulated through email and social media every time Mars makes a Close Approach.

The message is that Mars will look as big as the Moon in our night sky. If that were true, we'd be in big trouble given the gravitational pulls on Earth, Mars, and our Moon!

Mars_in_2018_apparent_size-full2

Miss seeing Mars Close Approach in 2018? The next Mars Close Approach is Oct. 6, 2020.

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

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